Wednesday, February 8, 2012

to better pictures

Isn't it crazy/ironic/fitting/sad/great/bittersweet/appropriate (all of those I suppose, I just couldn't pick one) how when a young life is cut short it really makes you stop and take inventory.  Even if it's someone you don't know, but especially if you have some sort of connection to that life, and especially if it's someone your own age, it really hits your heart and makes you take a good look at yourself and your life.

A climber died back home on Mt Hood this week.  Hearing of these missing or tragic climbers isn't a rarity back there... there are a handful a year.  And while it's always scary and sad to try and imagine being those families and friends involved, it always still seems so far removed.  I think it weighs somewhat heavily on us because we're familiar with the mountain; we've all been up there (granted, not as far up there as most of the climbers!) dozens of times for hiking, skiing, snowboarding, or just hanging out in cozy cabins, enjoying the snow.  But as far as the people go... the missing person here and there? They're always the faces of strangers.
As is true this time, except I've been able to see it just a little more up close and personal.
This time I first heard about him missing not on the news, but on facebook.  The sister of an old friend of mine from high school... it was her brother-in-law who hadn't returned that morning from his climb.  And so I prayerfully watched the updates on the search on facebook on Monday and Tuesday.  In real time.  In a real life.
And my heart sank when they announced his body had been found.

He was 32 years old, with a wife and two young kids.  And he lived in a neighborhood we know well.
So close to home.

This was one of the last pictures on his camera they found from that morning after having reached the summit of the mountain:
(posted by his family, I pulled it from my friend Joy's facebook page)

Isn't that a breathtaking picture? 
Made even more so by the fact that it was the last.

This picture is what has most stuck with me this morning.

And I've been thinking about what's on my camera.

If I was gone tomorrow and you picked up my camera, do you want to know what the last picture on there would be?
A snap of my feet on my bathroom scale that I took to send in to the weight loss challenge I'm in right now. 

Not a snippit of anything of our life in the few days since then; it's not my favorite husband in the world with his cheek squished up against mine, not my beautiful kids or some fun thing they're doing, not the dinner with friends we had last night, not the amazing pink moon we saw last evening or the gorgeous sunrise yesterday and the fabulous view we have of it each day from our own backyard.  Not even my cutie patootie puppy.
It's my poorly manicured toes on a scale in my bathroom.
Not exactly what I'd like a last memory to be.

Obviously, a life finished "early" will make us stop and think.  And make us want to hug others a little closer and try to do better.  And the Better that's for some reason sticking with me with this one?

Pick up the camera again and record this life.

I used to be good at that.  Really good at that.
I love, love, love looking back at pictures of our Everyday.  Of having such regular snapshots of who we were, what we were up to and what made us smile.  I love it.  And my kids love looking at pictures of our life, both before and after they were here.  I'm not sure when I let other things get in the way, but these days the extent of my photo-journalling is limited to special events (if I remember!), results of new recipes and bathroom scale shots. I have seriously slacked off so much when it comes to taking pictures the last couple of years. Like, I basically don't.

And this last picture of a view of a young man's life well-lived and remembered forever has really been convicting me today.
I need to do better.  I want to fill my memory cards and my photo albums and my home with pictures of this life, more like I used to do.  I want it to be fun and to be a habit and I really want to be able to look back on these current days just as I can the ones from a handful of years ago.  These faces and these moments.  It used to be important to me and I want that back again.
And when it comes down to it, I want to be happy with my last "view".


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Heather. God is touching so many people through J's story and photograph. Blessings to you and your family. (joy)

jenny said...

wow. this post, eye opening in itself.

i agree, often when terrible things happen, we get to watch as an outsider. however, when it starts hitting close to home, it gets a bit scary. i snap multiple pictures each day (thank you iphone) because over the years, reading posts like yours it has been beaten into my brain that you can't take anything for granted.

my heart aches for his family and friends.

thanks again for this reminder that we have to capture our life so it lives on once we're not here.

amy said...

Thank you for sharing this post -- such a good reminder.

kim said...

beautiful post. thanks for the reminder to catch up on my photos. :)

anne said...

What a nice post- wake up call for all who find photo journaling important. (If you looked at the last shot on my camera, it would be a picture of a maternity swim suit that I want to post on craigslist.)

About Me

everyday life © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.